Despite that speedonthewater.com is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the daily high-performance powerboating news site has had the same look and feel for the past five years. That’s an eternity in the online world, which is why we have tasked Dekker Web Solutions with a total redesign—including a new content management system and platform—to handle the site’s long-overdue makeover.
Dekker Web Solutions’ most recent marine industry website project was for Skater Powerboats (click image to visit the site). Photo from Skaterfest 2019 courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Significantly cleaner and more visual than the current site, Speedonthewater.com 3.0 will include a new product store from Grow Marketing in Central Missouri (that store will be added to the existing site in the next few weeks). The new site go live in late 2019 or early 2020.
If the Dekker name sounds familiar to you, that’s because Michigan-based Chris Dekker, the company’s owner and founder, is an avid high-performance powerboating enthusiast. Dekker, who owns a 47-foot Fountain Powerboats V-bottom, founded the West Michigan Offshore club in 2014—the same year he started Dekker Web Solutions. Though the company’s primary business is creating and maintaining websites, it also offers graphic design, search engine optimization, website hosting, social media marketing services and more.
“We focus on offering value to our customers,” Dekker said. “We might not be the cheapest, but in addition to exceptional value we offer fairness, honesty and transparency. Those are our core values.
“I started this company five years ago because I saw a need for it while I was working for a nonprofit,” he continued. “We needed a website and I started shopping around. We ended up with a 10-page, WordPress website for $12,000. I was astonished at how sub-par the finished product was, and that it was handed to us with no training and no support. In my entrepreneurial mind I thought, ‘There has to be a better solution than this.’ ”
Since then, Dekker Web Solutions has created more than 250 websites, most of which were completed in the past two years. Among those is the new Skater Powerboats website, which went live six months ago.
“We used WordPress and (speedonthewater.com chief photographer) Pete Boden’s images to create a website that showcases Skater as the premier builder of high-performance catamarans in the world,” Dekker said. “We tried to distinguish them by giving them the best website of any boat builder in the high-performance world.
“When you go online to check out Bugatti, you don’t find a 10-year-old website,” he added. “Skater, as celebrated as the brand is, deserves the same thing. So does speedonthewater.com.”
With 6,300-plus (and more added daily) articles and more than 100,000 images to import and translate to a new platform, Dekker and his team have their hands full with the speedonthewater.com redesign. To be sure, it is the company’s most ambitious and sprawling project to date. But for personal and professional reasons, it also could be Dekker’s favorite.
“My principal passion is performance boating—that’s why I started West Michigan Offshore, that’s why I visit speedonthewater.com every day,” he said, then laughed. “Now, I get to look at it even more than I used to.”
While social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more have substantial marketing value, they are not replacements, Dekker said, for a company’s own well-executed website.
“Social media is a great marketing tool—it’s awesome,” he said. “That why we use it. But you have three to five seconds of engagement with your viewer on Facebook. And you are using Facebook’s platform. You cannot create a ‘unique’ experience,’ much less tell a deeper story, on a Facebook page.
“Again, social media is awesome as a marketing tool, but it’s not an end-game, especially for a content site such as speedonthewater.com,” he continued. “For speedonthewater.com, the daily news website is the product and the foundation for all of its other editorial offerings including its weekly newsletter, bi-monthly digital magazine and Year In Review print magazine. So the website needs to be great.”